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Bless Up! Camp No Counselors Is Making Adulting Great Again

Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

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Adulting can suck big, floppy donkey dick.

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It’s not like undergrad, when you could just tell the Comcast lady you almost died in a car accident, because some teenager in the other lane was texting while driving, to defer paying your bill in order to afford a fog machine for your Halloween party.

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You actually have to pay your bills on time as a grown-up. And you’re actually burdened with doing the right thing when certain choices are left to your discretion — such as choosing between a week at Burning Man and keeping your job or picking between two cock-juggling thunder cunt’s to be the next president of the United States.

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Instead of worrying about pushing your limits with vacation days or holding on to the quixotic ideal that your vote will elect someone capable of intensively revamping America’s economic infrastructure and social divide, there’s a place adults can go that doesn’t require much time off work and has a legit grasp on making adulting great again! It’s a sleep away camp for grown-ups only called Camp No Counselors. And it’s fucking LIT.

I went this fall and although I don’t recall a lot of what happened, thanks to an open bar and a non-prejudice palate, I remember enough to share five reasons Camp No Counselors had me feeling blessed to be an adult.

1. Togetherness

There’s a rule at Camp No Counselors. (Luckily it has nothing to do with staying up late making noise and having three-way kisses with strangers while listening to 90s pop songs.) The rule is to not talk about what you do for a living. This forced campers to get to know each other as people and connect with others based on their vibe. It didn’t matter if someone worked at Walgreens or on Wall Street — we had no way of knowing. Nobody knew I was a journalist or that I worked for E! News and Jimmy Kimmel Live. They didn’t know about my startup or that I was on a reality show. Most importantly, they didn’t give a shit. Campers were only interested in having fun.

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Justin, right, went to camp with his friend Jordan, left. | Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

One of the friends I made was a woman who survived cancer and came to camp on a journey to live in the moment. Outside of camp, we probably wouldn’t have shared a good conversation, some drinks or a moment that made me appreciate my health and ability to live spontaneously. It made me realize adults often grow up to care about the wrong things.

2. Alcohol Included

When each meal includes free alcohol, you stack up!

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Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

3. The Activities

This camp for adults has the same activities offered to childhood sleep-away-campers — dodgeball, kickball, water tubing, paddle boarding, arts and crafts by the lake and Color Wars, to name a few.

Color Wars is basically an afternoon-long series of Olympic-style events. Of course there was tug-of-war and other competitive sports, but adult-themed additions were added such as Suck and Blow.

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Team Blue Balls presenting their team flag at Color Wars. | Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

My favorite activity at camp was the Sip & Flip — a giant slip-and-slide that leads into a game of flip cup. As you can tell from my pose (that’s me on the right), I turned Sip & Flip into an art form.

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Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

4. That’s What I Call Talent, Vol. Infinity

By the time we become adults, we realize we aren’t always as good of a singer, dancer, or baton-twirler our parents told us we were. Our talents change as we get older. The Camp No Counselor talent show caters to that. Case in point: This beast at camp shotgunned a beer with his teeth as his talent.

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Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

Savage.

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Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

5. It Doesn’t Have To Make Sense, It’s a Costume Party

Each camp has two costume parties. One of the themes was Space Jam Sci-Fi. I didn’t really know what that meant, so I dressed up as a basketball player with a silver GLAMGLOW GRAVITYMUD Firming Treatment mask. For starters it made me look like an alien. Furthermore, I peeled the mask off in the morning to reveal beautiful, glowing skin that made me look way more revived than my hangover had me feeling.

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Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

Costumes weren’t only welcomed at the evening costume parties. Just ask this fellow-camper in a Sriracha sauce onesie outside of his cabin.

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Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

Or ask the same camper in a Sriracha sauce onesie jumping in the lake.

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Photographed by Amy Pinard, Camp No Counselors

Camp No Counselors takes over different sleep-away camps around the country before and after camp sessions. Pre-registration is now open for 2017. You just might see me there!

 

 

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Scranton’s mayor drops out of debate, dismisses millennial population

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Scranton’s mayor, Bill Courtright, dropped out of a debate with candidates Jim Mulligan and Gary St. Fleur at the eleventh hour. A campaign spokesperson cited “scheduling conflicts” Tuesday in an email, despite committing 8 days earlier.

The debate is the first opportunity for the candidates to take questions together directly from the voters. It is also the first-ever time Scranton’s candidates for mayor will unite to address concerns made by the youngest voters — millennials. The League of Women Voters of Lackawanna County hosted a debate last week, but refused to allow live-streaming, making the debate less accessible to young people.

Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University professor with 30 years of experience as a political media consultant, says it’s not uncommon for an incumbent mayor to avoid a debate.

“There’s really two reasons a candidate would not want to appear,” said Berkovitz in a phone call to Better than the Weekend. “One. He or she knows they are way ahead. They’re most likely to win the election, so they don’t have a lot to gain and they have a lot to lose. Why give a platform to your opponents and allow them a chance to score some points? Number two. There’s some kind of scandal or problem that he or she doesn’t want to bring to the forefront.”

Both are possible reasons Courtright dropped out of the upcoming debate. In 2013, Courtright, a Democrat, defeated Jim Mulligan, the same Republican nominee he’s running against this time around. He’s likely confident his supporters will turn out to hand him another victory. In terms of a scandal, a Lackawanna County judge recently ruled Scranton overtaxed residents and is in violation of state law. Jesse Chobey, a millennial Scranton voter, is convinced Courtright doesn’t want to put himself in another position to answer to a crime crippling his constituents.

“Courtight’s whole term as mayor of Scranton was spent stealing money off the tax payers and now he’s a coward and can’t face up to what he did. Bottom line,” said Chobey.

Dropping out “is not good democracy, but it’s good political strategy,” said Berkovitz.

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Mike Milani feels Courtright’s sudden scheduling conflict is irresponsible and sends a message affirming millennials have no future in Scranton.

“Let’s just give the guy the benefit of the doubt and say there is a scheduling conflict,” said Milani. “You mean to tell me it took days for his campaign to realize he can’t attend? That just shows how sloppy local government is under his scrambled leadership.”

After moving to Scranton from Baltimore, Maryland to attend Lackawanna College in 2011, Milani said he struggled for six years to succeed in the area before making the decision to move to Dallas, Texas this year.

“There was no opportunity for me unless I married into one of the monarch families of NEPA,” said Milani. “There’s too much nepotism for outsiders to come here and succeed. I knew someone who got arrested by a cop, was legally represented by his brother, and the judge was the father. That’s seriously fucked up and sounds like something that would happen in a farm town in Kentucky, not a city with more than 70,000 people living there. The only good jobs are local government jobs. Small businesses can’t thrive in the area. Money isn’t spent on attracting educated entrepreneurs. People should look at the budget. Too much money is spent on a failing criminal system with a recidivism rate through the roof. It’s crazy.” While Pennsylvania recidivism rates are dropping to a historic low, Lackawanna County is jailing people at twice the national average.

Milani said he’s not surprised the mayor dropped out of a debate targeting millennial issues because he doesn’t believe Courtright would know what to say to young people calling out the city’s lack of opportunity.

“The young people in Scranton should pack their bags and run now if they want a chance at any kind of future,” he said.

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Republican candidate Jim Mulligan and Gary St. Fleur, running on a write-in campaign, feel differently about the fate of the Electric City. They see the potential in Scranton with new leadership and will be addressing concerns when millennials take charge at Thursday’s town hall.

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Any millennial voter (born in or after 1981) in Scranton can attend the debate by sending an RSVP to justin@betterthantheweekend.com with their name, contact information and question to the candidates. For those who can’t attend, questions can still be submitted by email and on Facebook.com/betterthantheweekend by commenting on the post announcing the event.

The debate will be hosted by Better than the Weekend at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center and will be live-streamed at 7:30 p.m. on Facebook.com/betterthantheweekend.

Better than the Weekend hopes Courtright will once again change his mind and prove he is willing to prioritize concerns of millennials by participating in the debate but is still looking forward to hearing from anyone running for mayor willing to talk about the future of the city with the future of the city.

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Scranton’s candidates for mayor to face off in millennial town hall

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Millennials will have a chance to address their concerns for the future of Scranton, Pennsylvania in a first-ever town town hall debate solely catering to the youngest voters in the Electric City. Better than the Weekend is hosting the event Thursday, November 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center. All three candidates who participated in the first mayoral debate on Oct. 25 — Democratic nominee Bill Courtright, Republican nominee Jim Mulligan, and write-in candidate Gary St. Fleur — have agreed to participate and look forward to validating the concerns of young voters.

Despite how divided the United States is when it comes to political issues, America remains the highest hope for all who cherish free speech and open debate. When the League of Women Voters of Lackawanna County last week refused to allow Better than the Weekend to live-stream the mayoral debate between the candidates in Scranton, I felt like I was in North Korea. Or some alternate universe in Rick and Morty.

While the LWV of Lackawanna County says they’re open to live streaming in the future, that doesn’t help the voting public now. Only 20 percent of registered voters in Scranton voted for a mayoral candidate in the primaries. Something needs to happen to stimulate a higher voter turnout. Restricting a debate’s accessibility is not only reckless — it builds a wall between the candidates and the citizens they wish to lead.

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While past elections have shown young people are less likely to vote, the all throat and no vote reputation is expiring. Millennials are fed up with the broken social contract around college, which no longer functions as an automatic elevator to indulging middle-class comfort. Young people are crippled by the fall in wage growth. More connected than any other generation in history, millennials put social unrest on blast and spark conversations with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of instant allies. We’re woke and we’re not backing down.

Seemingly out of touch with the way our country is moving forward and the modern means to live up to their core principles and democratic responsibility of engaging the public with local government, the LWV of Lackawanna County inspired Better than the Weekend to step up and host a town hall where millennials could take the lead.

The first 40 millennials to RSVP by sending an email to justin@betterthantheweekend.com will be welcomed to attend the town hall. The RSVP email must include their full name, age, cell phone number, name as appears on Facebook, Instagram name and question directed at all candidates. Facebook and Instagram information will be used to screen participants and assure they’re millennials from Scranton.

Even those who can’t attend are encouraged to email a question or post it on Facebook.com/betterthantheweekend by leaving a comment on the post featuring this article. For those who can’t attend, the debate will be live-streamed on Facebook.com/betterthantheweekend. The video will still be up on the page after it is filmed. Not all questions will be guaranteed to be addressed. Better than the Weekend and the candidates will try to get as many concerns addressed as possible.

A special millennial town hall happy hour will take place at PJ’s Pub inside the Hilton from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. leading up to the debate.

Further questions about the event are encouraged and can be sent to justin@betterthantheweekend.com.

For now, spread the word and be heard.

 

 

 

 

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Father to daughter: An open letter to Lindsay Lohan from her dad

Michael Lohan

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My Dearest Lindsay,

Well the The Parent Trap is over. You’re 12 years old now, yet while you have an old soul, your life has only begun. I’ve been around the block a few times, Linds, and I’ve lived your life twice over. I write this thinking of the days gone by, how you got here today and what the future holds for you. I’m trying to find the words. Words with meaning and deep rooted truth that will stay with you forever. Words that will guide you and express my feelings toward you. Words like love, forgiveness, sacrifice, strength, hope and faith. Words like gifted, a blessing and the natural beauty you are. Words that are kind, thoughtful, generous and touch the heart in wonderful ways. But beware, my darlin’, because there will be times when people come at you because of all the wonderful things you are, and they will use words in ways that aren’t so kind.

When a father has a daughter like you, who has accomplished so much at such an early age, it’s scary, but he also realizes she’s just as strong as he is. A force to be reckoned with. A soul on fire, just like your hair, with the same strength and passions as any man I’ve ever met.

Like you sweetheart, words do have strength of their own, and maybe, just maybe, my words as a father will be louder and resinate more than the words of the world. Maybe my words can deliver to you a deep, unshakeable sense of your own worthiness and beauty.

Your gifts are a blessing, honey, and you have a great responsibility to use them in the best of ways. As I told you, God says, “Where there is much given, there’s much required,” and if not used the right way, “What God gives you, He will take away.” I hope those words find a place deeply tucked in your heart. Your talent is a force to be reckoned with. So when options come your way that can distract your work, always choose your talent. Your talent will inspire people. It will force people to feel things like laughter, joy and the feeling of not being alone. But if you don’t keep your talent on top of the list of priorities, it will be taken away. After all, you know how often that has happened to me.

Also realize that there will be bumps in the road because of life and no one is perfect. God knows, I’ve been there as well. The important part is that when a rough patch comes and if you fall off the horse, that you get back on so the horse doesn’t run too far away. Use your strength to get up, dust it off and continue in the right direction. You have the reins in your hands, honey, but let God be your driving force in the pursuit of your dreams.And when it comes to your dreams, choose them wisely, and not from a department store shelf, a book or someone else’s thoughts of what you should do or where you should go. Live your life like your heart tells you with the wholehearted consideration of what God whispers in your ear. That whisper, honey, is your conscience, and it will guide you. Find the still-quiet place within you and never lose it. A real dream has been planted there.

May your strength be in your heart, may you discern in your heart who you are, and then may you boldly, but carefully, live it out in the world to the best of your ability. Be the kind, loving and ageless soul that you are and make a difference in wonderful ways.

From my heart to yours,

Daddy

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